After one year without Tom Brady, the Patriots find themselves still in search of a quarterback as they look to rebound from a disappointing 7-9 season.
The hope this offseason would be that they’ll either find a serviceable free agent and bring someone in through the draft, or they’ll make a deal for a starter who can potentially take this team into the future.
The latter scenario is obviously tougher than it looks. Guys who can start in the NFL are tough to find and most teams won’t even consider parting with one unless they can find a better option.
That appears to be the case out in San Francisco, where quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo has seemingly fallen out of favor following multiple injury-riddled seasons, as well as his disappointing finish after he went 3-for-11 in the fourth quarter during last year’s Super Bowl Loss to the Chiefs.
After that game, there were whispers about whether or not San Francisco would stick with Garoppolo in 2020, which ended up being the first sign that a change might be coming. They, instead, gave him another opportunity but an ankle injury sidelined him and he again missed time. Between his loss, and other personnel hits, the 49ers season came off the rails and they head into this offseason in need of some soul-searching as they look to right the ship heading into 2021.
One writer out in the Bay Area is fully aware of New England’s problems at quarterback, and he’s heard about the fact Garoppolo’s name is coming up in the discussions locally. NBC Bay Area’s Josh Schrock essentially established just two scenarios that would free Jimmy G up to change teams. Either the 49ers make a deal for Deshaun Watson, or the Patriots opt to send the #15 pick in exchange for Garoppolo and a 2nd. Given their other needs, parting with that high of a draft choice might be too steep of a price but he believes if the Patriots want him, they’ll need to give San Francisco a strong enough offer to also allow the 49ers to move up and select Zach Wilson or Justin Fields.
He also writes that if they’re fortunate to have Trey Lance fall down to them at 12, that number 15 pick would also allow them to bolster their offensive line or improve their defense.
Either way, San Francisco won’t let Garoppolo go until they solve their own problems and that could complicate this situation.
The idea of a return to New England certainly makes sense given the affinity Bill Belichick has for his former player. Garoppolo’s current contract carries a big price tag but if ever there was a player Belichick might stretch his budget that another team overpaid for, he likely has enough trust in Jimmy G to take that hit.
Sending Watson out of the conference would definitely be the best option for Houston, as it gets him out of the AFC and for Watson, it sends him to a team that could instantly give him an opportunity to win immediately. However, GM Nick Caserio has made it clear that they have no intention of moving him and if they show him their commitment by building a competitive roster heading into 2021, that could potentially convince Watson to decide to stay put.
If that happens, it only makes getting Garoppolo back to New England that much more difficult.
In the end, it’s a situation with a lot of moving parts and we’ll have to see how it plays out. But for a position that’s definitely a massive key to their future, the Patriots will likely be watching what the 49ers do very closely in the coming months.
More Patriots News Headlines: